The Navigating North exhibition at Kiasma turns gaze towards the north  

Showcasing the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation Collection, Navigating North investigates links between the north and south. The themes of the exhibition – landscape, northern nature, and geographical and cultural crossroads – point towards how we are constantly navigating change.

“Although acquisitions to the Wihuri Foundation Collection have not focused on northern art specifically, we were intrigued by the collection’s northern home in Rovaniemi. What new ideas might the Wihuri Collection offer Kiasma’s audiences? With the kind assistance of staff at the Rovaniemi Art Museum, we learned about the work of the northern artists and artists of northern origin working in the south. We did not limit our attention to the north alone, however, but selected works by artists all over Finland,” explain exhibition curators Saara Hacklin, Kati Kivinen and Satu Oksanen

One of the recurring themes in the exhibition is the experience of belonging to a place or community and how that affects one’s identity. The featured artworks examine our relationship with the natural world and how we so often seek to shape the environment but also how we ourselves are defined by places. The Arctic north is a special region that today attracts interest globally for various political, economic, cultural and ecological reasons. 

The exhibition is curated by Saara Hacklin, Kati Kivinen and Satu Oksanen from Kiasma. In addition to their texts, the lavishly illustrated exhibition book includes essays by Aira Huovinen and Ulla Viitanen, curators from the Rovaniemi Art Museum and Professor Tuija Hautala-Hirvioja from the University of Lapland. 

The featured artists are Heini Aho, Lauri Astala, John Court, Tom Engblom, Petri Eskelinen, Radoslaw Gryta, Kaisaleena Halinen, Mia Hamari, Jaakko Heikkilä, Jussi Heikkilä, Marja Helander, Maija Helasvuo, Marjatta Holma, Irmeli Hulkko, Konsta Huusko, Eeva-Liisa Isomaa, Helena Junttila, Elina Juopperi, Hanna Kanto, Eemil Karila, Joel Karppanen, Kaija Kiuru, Ilona Kivijärvi, Tuomas Korkalo, Laura Könönen, Katri Kuparinen, Raakel Kuukka, Antti Laitinen, Kalle Lampela, Ville Mäkikoskela, Esko Männikkö ja Pekka Turunen, Arttu Nieminen, Leena Nio, Matti Nurminen, Outi Pieski, Marja Pirilä, Raisa Raekallio and Misha del Val, Merja Aletta Ranttila, Johanna Ruotsalainen and Simi Ruotsalainen, Stiina Saaristo, Juhani Tuominen, Kari Tuisku, Pauliina Turakka Purhonen, Seija Ulkuniemi, Maaria Wirkkala. 

Five performances from the north 

The focus of the exhibition’s performance programme is on northern Finland and the Sápmi region and artists associated with them. Kemi – II Memo of Trees by Tuija Kokkonen focus on questions: How do we remember forests, our times and our action? What are the memories of the 18-year-old in the future? Five performers, readers and discussants share their thoughts with audience members. Auri Ahola‘s Viehâ is a multi-disciplinary performance about the feelings that people from different eras share in our random life. Pauliina Feodoroff’s performance / video installation Matriarchy takes the form of an auction catalogue of rights to view landscapes. The money paid for the rights will be used to purchase and protect areas of Sapmi land. The work featured at the 2022 Venice Biennale in the Sámi Pavilion. Seeking Unicorns by Italian choreographer Chiara Bersani will be performed in the Kiasma lobby at sunrise on November mornings, with the artist encountering the northern light that inspired her to create the piece. Also included in the programme a work by Tornio-based British artist John Court, and Biret & Gáddjá Haarla Pieski’s performance Starting from Staring

The Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation Art Collection 

The art collection of the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation has been steadily growing for over 60 years. Donated to the City of Rovaniemi, the collection, whose roots go back to the art of the 1940s, comprises nearly 3,500 works and grows by more than 50 every year. The collection is a fine cross-section of Finnish contemporary art.  

Navigating North is produced in collaboration with the Rovaniemi Art Museum and the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation. In 2023 the exhibition will be on view at Rovaniemi Art Museum Korundi. 

Navigating North continues the collaboration between Finnish National Gallery and the Wihuri Foundation that was launched in 2017. Its most visible manifestation is the annual Wihuri Day, offering the public free admission to Finnish National Gallery museums Kiasma, Ateneum and Sinebrychoff, courtesy of the foundation. The Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation celebrates the 80th anniversary in 2022. 

Navigating North  – Works from the Wihuri Foundation Collection 7.10.2022–2.4.2023  

More information for the media 

Reetta Haarajoki, Communications Officer, tel. +358 (0)294 500 631,  

Piia Laita, Communications Manager, tel. +358 (0)294 500 507, 

Saara Hacklin, Curator, tel. +358 (0)294 500 634,  

Satu Oksanen, Curator, tel. +358 (0)294 500 577,  

Press images for media: